Testing is used to answer a whole host of diagnostic and functional questions about people of all ages. It can clarify why school or work failure is occurring; who is gifted; what school or testing accommodations should be available for students; what are the individual’s strengths; what is the most appropriate diagnosis; and why emotional problems persist despite therapy and/or other mental health interventions. Often, when there are many possible reasons for persistent learning and functional difficulties, testing will be the quickest and most precise way to understand what is going wrong and what will help.
Psychological and educational testing is the administration of a series of cognitive, psychosocial, projective, memory, and academic tasks designed to reveal in detail the resources, strengths, and relative weaknesses of the person being tested. Psychiatric diagnoses can be clarified through testing, and often cognitive and educational testing are required before institutions like schools will provide appropriate accommodations and services. At Clearwater, we recognize that assessments can serve multiple purposes, and we attempt to be flexible in our approach and tailor the testing to the referral question(s).
Frequently used tests include the various Wechsler instruments (WAIS, WISC, etc.) for assessing overall cognitive abilities; the WIAT, GORT and Nelson-Denny for academic assessment; the WRAML for evaluating memory; and the TOVA and TEACH for looking at attentional issues. Personality assessment typically includes the Rorschach, an apperception test, self-report questionnaires, and occasionally the MMPI. Neuropsychological screening may include tests like the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System, the NEPSY, and the Wisconsin Card Sort. At Clearwater, every client tested is given an individually tailored battery of tests designed to answer their specific questions, and illuminate their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Whenever possible, Clearwater utilizes a collaborative assessment model during assessments, titrating feedback to clients throughout the testing process, and writing reports that are user-friendly and not unnecessarily full of jargon. Although a full collaborative assessment can be more costly than a standard evaluation, it may decrease the time spent in therapy after assessment, and therefore can often prove a sound investment of time and resources.
Jocelin Saks, Ph.D., is the Director of the assessment clinic, and she will personally respond to all inquiries about services at Clearwater.